lessons from the carseat.

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(photo cred: unsplash)

a few months ago, i wrote a blog post about how god used one of my favorite kiddos to teach me a lesson. to speak to me using my own words to a child. i think maybe this should become a series because mostly i’m just like a little child pretending i’m grown + have no need for a father. for this series, let yourself imagine a graphic drawing (or actual photo) of me in a carseat in the back (long legs n all) and god in the drivers seat mostly shaking his head and in all probability – cursing while i act like… well… a child. moving on….

this morning, i took my nieces on a VERY urgent donut trip (as is every donut trip). it was pouring rain but worth the trouble so we went to the store, were driving back to the house to eat them and my niece inquired whether i had gotten her chocolate milk. i had not. i didn’t realize she wanted any and told her that. she wasn’t thrilled and was feeling pouty about it. i told her that i was sorry, that i didn’t know she wanted it but that we got DONUTS and we should be happy with what we did get and not unhappy with what we didn’t. the pouting proceeded as did my mature attitude about it ;). a few minutes later when we were closer to home, i tried to get her attention to explain to her why it was unnecessary. she was having none of it (touche, sister. when i don’t get chocolate milk, i’m not pleasant either). i told her we were taking another loop until she had a better attitude about the fact that she GOT chocolate donut (WITH SPRINKLES!) and not being sad that she didn’t get chocolate milk. i explained that i knew it was disappointing and sad but that sometimes we don’t get things we want but that we can’t just pout about it. we should focus on what we DO have and not on what we DON’T.

then it hit me. (the donut did. from the back seat. she threw it at me. ok i’m lying.) i’m so guilty of this.

god is trying to tell me, “hey kid. i know you want the CHOCOLATE MILK. I GET THAT YOU ASKED FOR IT AND I SAID NO. i HEAR you complaining and i SEE you pouting. (no seriously… every day i’ve been telling god “hey…. still not happy here. still not my plan. thanks, bye”) but you get a CHOCOLATE DONUT. WITH. SPRINKLES. for god’s sake (literally), be happy for the things i HAVE given you and AM doing in your life. stop pouting or we’ll take a few loops around until you get it.” and still, i demand my own way. i think that if only i had the thing that i asked god for and want, i would be content. if i had the chocolate milk or the job that i want or the boy or the situation, that i’d suddenly be okay. and maybe i would. temporarily. but god is looking to sustain me long-term. he has a far greater plan than the chocolate milk and the chocolate donut. he is doing a more wonderful work (however terrible the means) than i could think up. while it’s difficult to trust him (especially for my wayward self), i have to live every day walking confidently in what IS and clinging to his promises of what eventually will be. here’s to enjoying the chocolate sprinkled donuts of today and hoping for the chocolate milks of the future. or some such theologically deep thing. below is a quote from cs lewis to make up for all the damage i did above. you’re welcome.

“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” //  cs lewis, the weight of glory.
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waiting on god.

earlier, i was hanging with some of my favorite kids (and their sweet gammie). case, the two year-old and i went to run a few errands. after leaving heb, we were in the mini-van (stay tuned for the rest of the wild details of my saturday night…..) and i was contemplating my next turn. meanwhile, the guy behind me wanted me to move. touche, sir, because i was sitting there for too long and hadn’t noticed him behind me. he honked, and i started to move. then case inquired, “what was that?”. i told him the man honked because he wanted me to go. i explained to him that sometimes when you want something right away, you get mad but that you can still be patient while waiting (typical mom move… making everything into a lecture). i asked him if he ever wants something from his parents RIGHT NOW and he has to wait? maybe he needs some more patience. i then decided to further my hypocrisy by telling him how sometimes, similarly to when our parents tell us we can’t have something and we need to wait patiently until they are ready to give it to us, we will have to wait on god. and we should say “okay god, i’ll wait on you”. and case repeated it, too. “okay god, i’ll wait on you”.

then i almost cried at the sweetness of case’s naivete in not knowing the depth of the ways the lord may make him wait in his life. how easily he says “okay god, i’ll wait on you”. i realized how hard it was for me to say those words out loud. because right now, i’m waiting. i’m waiting for god to hurry up my grieving process, to give me what i want, or at the very least — to tell me he is not going to give me what i want. you see, i don’t want to wait on god. instead of exhibiting patience until god shows me what he’s up to, i honk, then honk again, then ram my rage into the back of him (okay a bit of overkill, i’ll admit) until he gives me what i want. or at least until he answers. i don’t yet have the capacity to say (honestly) “okay god, i’ll wait on you”. i don’t have case’s blind faith. i barely have any faith at all.

i’ve sat silently and i’ve raged and i’ve tried to take all my brokenness to god. i have. but i’m not keen on waiting. when the process seems to stretch out unending and the grief feels unbearable, i. don’t. want. to wait. and i don’t want my father in heaven who knows me and sees me and loves me to let me wait. it seems cruel. it seems unfair. it seems like there’d be another way. and yet, he’s chosen to let me wait.

there is great growth available to me in this waiting period. i’ve grown immeasurably in compassion for others who are waiting on the lord — waiting for a baby to call their own, wading through a tragic death, waiting to see the lord’s provision in a job, wading through grief. i’m not alone. there are so, so many examples of people waiting in the bible. mary and martha waiting for two days for jesus to come heal their (now dead) brother lazarus; moses waiting for 4o YEARS for god to bring them to the promised land (i’ll choose another thorn in my side, thank you!); abraham and sarah waiting for so long for the child god has ensured them that sarah LAUGHED AT GOD (then lied about it… smooth, sarah) when she was told she’d finally have a child in her old age. we are not alone in our waiting but it often feels that way. there’s a pitiful comfort in feeling as though we are. but there’s no real faith, no real strength in it.

but what does the bible SAY we will gain by waiting on the LORD?

“… but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” isaiah 40:31

“wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the LORD” psalm 27:14

“yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. for the LORD is a god of justice. blessed are all who wait for him! isaiah 30:18

“for through the spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope.” galatians 5:5

“we wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.” psalm 33:20

we gain strength, stamina, faith. we are blessed. we have a help and shield. we gain courage. we can hope. the sting is not taken away but i pray in whatever waiting season you are in, you can remember we have a god that goes before us as our shield, is our rear guard, who is a lifeboat when we are sinking, is a refuge when we are weary, who takes our yoke and calls it light, who is good beyond measure, who brings life and life abundantly, who takes our small plans and trashes them for the ones that are beyond our comprehension. but i pray mostly in these quiet, painful moments, you could honestly say “okay god, i’ll wait on you” and that it would be enough.